Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunny 67

posted from Bloggeroid

Ad populum

Americans, so in love with the republic democracy, also love to commit the ad populum fallacy. This fallacy, known by many other names, says that an argument or claim must be true because many people say it is.

Examples: "50,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong."

"When gay marriage is common and accepted you'll see how wrong you are."

"This is the superior toothbrush because 4 out of 5 dentists recommend it."

"Third parties never win so it's wrong to vote for them."

The perennial favorite of teenagers: "Everyone is doing it [so it's ok for me to do it...whatever "it" is]."

posted from Bloggeroid


Is burn-out a post-modern phenomenon, or is it something that has existed through the ages? Perhaps when soldiers lost the will to fight, they were simply labeled cowards.

Next Sunday is Septuagesima, then Ash Wednesday on the 18th. Lent is coming, an apt time to rekindle.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bagel bite arrays

My son is 6 years old and loves math.

Last night we made bagel bites for him and his brothers. I said, "I'm going to make an array of bagel bites. Three rows for three boys, for in each row. How many total?" "12" "Good, and if I add a row of extras?" "Well, that's four more, so 16." "Very good! Now there's still some left in the box. I'm going to add one to each row. How many now?" He had to think longer, here. "20!"

Parents should teach kids math in everyday settings like this. It's easier to learn multiplication when cooking dinner than when you're in class looking forward to lunch. Arrays are a logical concept and tool, as well and are useful in logical organizations. As you see, we encounter them in mundane ways. We must look for these golden opportunities to teach our kids, especially in the preschool years!
posted from Bloggeroid

Logic and math

Logic is often grouped together with math in school.  At the primary and secondary level, descriptions of math standards and curricula often mention logic.  At some universities, logic courses can satisfy the math core requirement.

While it is true that math involves logic and logical reasoning, a strong background in math is not the same as a background in logic.  A good logician will be good at math, but a good mathematician may not necessarily be a good logician.  This is because while we might be able to say that math is a subset of logic, the terms are not synonymous.  Logic includes math, but it is greater than math.  Logical reasoning skills are applicable to all areas of life, from scientific inquiry, to casual reading, to scholarly research, and even to game play (and not just chess, but popular sports as well).

This being said, later I will give an example of how parents can work with their children to develop both logical and mathematical skills.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ad hominem

The phrase "ad hominem" means, "to the man." In logic it refers to an informal fallacy where the person giving the argument is attacked instead of the argument itself. It is designed to deflect attention away from the weakness of the attacker's position or the strength of the defender's. This is common in politics, and is not always without merit.

If an environmentalist candidate flies exclusively in private jets, it is right to point out this hypocrisy, but hypocrisy doesn't affect the truth or falsity of his positions on global warming or other issues. Further, too often in politics and religion ad hominem attacks are used in lieu of valid reasoning skills.

For can you trust a draft-dodger's views on foreign policy? .... How can you believe in that religion with so many bad people leading it? ... That politician sleeps around and he wants to tell me what to do with my body? ... that man opposes gay marriage just because he's a homophobe...that person supports that bill because she's racist...

And so on. All of the above statements attack the person and not the idea. They may help us feel better but not think better.
posted from Bloggeroid


At this point anyone coming here might wonder if there is order and logic to my posts on logic.  There is not a lot, except that I wish to start with the most basic ideas and progress from there.  Right now, I'm not even laying the foundation or constructing the blueprint.  I'm creating a sketch of what I wish to do.